Legislation Would Make California the First in the Nation to Require Two Week Scheduling Notice for Employees Dealing with Work Schedule Uncertainty
Sacramento – Assemblymembers David Chiu (D – San Francisco) and Dr. Shirley Weber (D – San Diego) today introduced AB 357, first-in-the-nation state legislation that would require food and retail establishments with 500 or more employees in California to provide at least two weeks scheduling notice for their workers and additional pay for last minute schedule changes. According to a recent study by UC Berkeley’s Labor Center titled “Shelved: How Wages and Working Conditions for California’s Food Retail Workers have Declined as the Industry has Thrived,” workers in those industries face declining wages, increased poverty and overall economic uncertainty.
“Without fair and predictable work schedules, more and more Californians, particularly part-time and low-wage workers, are struggling to plan for basic life necessities, like child care or a much-needed second job,” said Assemblymember Chiu. “California can lead the way once again by providing for fair scheduling for the men and women on the front lines of an increasingly unequal economy.”
“It’s an unfortunate economic reality that part-time work isn’t just for teenagers anymore. Part-time workers are now adults who may require multiple jobs to support themselves and their families,” said Assemblymember Weber. “This abusive practice of last-minute scheduling hobbles workers who are taking the initiative to support themselves, and requires taxpayer subsidy in the form of greater need for public assistance for those who cannot. These workers need scheduling far enough in advance to work those other jobs, to arrange childcare and transportation, and to pursue education and training. AB 357 will facilitate that.”
Since the Great Recession, new employer practices and the rise of hourly work have changed California’s workforce. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the state now has the largest percentage of hourly workers in the country, and since 2006, the number of involuntary part-time workers in California has tripled.
“With 64 percent of poor Californians living in working homes, we have to find ways to support economic advancement among low-income, hourly workers,” said Jessica Bartholow of the Western Center on Law and Poverty, a co-sponsor of the bill. “This bill will allow workers to plan ahead so that they won’t fall behind, and empower them to take bolder steps on their path out of poverty.”
Fifty-nine percent of the national workforce is now paid hourly, and more than half of hourly workers are women. Simultaneously, employers are increasingly implementing ‘just in time’ and ‘on-call’ scheduling practices that often result in unpredictable schedules and last-minute changes to minimize labor costs.
“Right now, there are no protections for hourly workers in retail when it comes to last-minute changes to our schedules,” said Monica Jimenez, an Ontario resident and pharmacy technician at Rite Aid Pharmacy for six years, and the mother of two children ages 9 and 11. "This makes it very difficult, and sometimes impossible, to plan our weekly or even day-to-day schedule. That’s why we need schedule fairness in California.”
"This legislation is on the forefront in changing people's lives for the better - especially part-time workers who literally are on their own in this new economy,” said Jim Araby, Executive Director of United Food and Commercial Workers Western States Council. “As the largest private sector union in the country representing food retail grocery workers, we are proud to stand with Assemblymembers David Chiu and Dr. Shirley Weber to help move the Fair Schedule Act forward in the Legislature."
Assemblymember David Chiu (D – San Francisco) is the Assistant Speaker Pro Tempore of the California State Assembly and represents the 17th Assembly District, which encompasses the eastern portion of San Francisco.